Initial fitness, maturity status, and total training time explain small and inconsistent proportions of the variance in physical development of adolescent footballers across one season

Michael King, Derek Ball, Matthew Weston, Robert McCunn, Neil Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate how initial fitness, maturity status, and training time explain changes in physical performance tests across one season.

Methods: Eighty-eight adolescent male footballers, representing four age categories (Under 15 [n=12], Under 14 [n=21], Under 13 [n=25], Under 12 [n=30]), were tested for four physical performance tests (20m sprint, change of direction, squat jump and yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 1 [YYIRTL1]) and maturity offset at the season start (Test 1) and end (Test 2). Multiple regression determined the proportion of variance in test score changes, which were explained by three predictor variables: initial fitness (i.e., Test 1), maturity offset change, and training time. With combined categories, predictor variables explained 0.051 to 0.297 of the variance in physical performance test score changes. Analysing age categories separately, predictor variables explained 0.047 to 0.407 (20 m sprint), 0.202 to 0.626 (change of direction), 0.336 to 0.502 (squat jump), and 0.196 to 0.777 (YYIRTL1) of variance in test score changes. Of the limited differences in relative predictor contribution, Test 1 was the strongest predictor of test score change.

Conclusions: Initial fitness, maturity status change, and training time explain small and inconsistent proportions of variance in adolescent footballers’ physical development across one season.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Sports Medicine
Early online date2 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • soccer
  • fitness changes
  • development
  • talent identification
  • youth
  • academy

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